Conditions in the Rohingya refugee camps and the surrounding areas in Cox’s Bazar District are deteriorating as a result of several days of heavy monsoon rainfall across southern Bangladesh, which is expected to continue for the next 48 hours. In the Rohingya refugee camps, thousands of shelters have been damaged and flooded, low-lying areas have also been flooded, and landslides have been reported.
In the last 24 hours, humanitarian partners have received reports of approximately 13,000 people affected—including 17 people who have tragically lost their lives, in both the refugee and the host communities. Due to lack of mobility, Women, children, older people and persons with disabilities face the greatest risk of being injured or killed and have the most difficulty accessing aid and safety.
“I am so afraid a landslide will happen at night and my sons will not know what to do or be able to escape. Our floor is damaged by rain, and I can’t leave my two sons with disabilities at home to get material to repair the floor—so now water keeps coming into our shelter. I can’t cook or eat because there is too much water. I am worried our shelter will collapse.” – A Rohingya mother in the camps
As the rain continues, the risk of unsanitary conditions and the spread of water-borne diseases increases, which could be disastrous considering hundreds of cases of Acute Watery Diarrhea have already been identified in the camps. Due to Government-enforced COVID-19 prevention and control measures, humanitarian access has been restricted which has made it difficult for humanitarian agencies to respond to the existing needs of refugees and host communities, let alone take preventive action to mitigate the impacts of disasters like this before they occur.
The humanitarian community appreciates the Government of Bangladesh’s quick action to lift access restrictions in order to prevent further loss of life from water-borne illness and slope failures. Together, we are working tirelessly to respond to the dire humanitarian needs of refugees and the host community. However, each day hundreds more are in critical need of assistance.
As 32 humanitarian agencies, we call for the following to address the emerging needs and prevent a future catastrophe:
Save the Children, International Rescue Committee, Norwegian Refugee Council, Concern World Wide, Muslim AidUK, Malteser International, Norwegian Church Aid, Danish Refugee Council, Solidarités, Food for the Hungry, Christian Blind Mission, Handicap International, Relief International, Oxfam, Action Aid Bangladesh, United in Purpose, , World Vision International, , Action Against Hunger, educo, Christian Aid, Plan International, , ADRA, CARE, Terre Des Homes (TdH), MdMJ, Asian Dignity Initiative (ADI), MedAir, United Purpose,World Concern, HELVETAS, DanChurch Aid (DCA)